September 19th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Fast and Furious report finds DOJ management failures

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Fourteen employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Justice Department face disciplinary action for their roles in the botched Fast and Furious weapons-tracking program, according to a report released Wednesday by department investigators. No criminal charges are recommended, according to the report.

The program was doomed by a "series of misguided strategies, tactics, errors in judgment and management failures" on the part of line agents, prosecutors and senior Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, Justice Department investigators concluded in a report released Wednesday.

The report does not recommend any criminal sanctions against individuals in connection with the controversial gun-trafficking operation.

The report finds that Attorney General Holder was not informed of the controversial ATF operation until 2011 after the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

Parents say slain agent's death exposed flaws of gun-running operation

"I have reviewed the Office of the Inspector General’s report on Operation Fast and Furious and the key conclusions are consistent with what I, and other Justice Department officials, have said for many months now: The inappropriate strategy and tactics employed were field-driven and date back to 2006; The leadership of the Department did not know about or authorize the use of the flawed strategy and tactics; and The Department’s leadership did not attempt to cover up information or mislead Congress about it," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Read Holder's full statement

Holder said he has accepted the resignations of Kenneth Melson, the former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein in connection with their roles in the Fast and Furious weapons-tracking program.

"Today’s report affirms the problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the previous Administration, and it was this Administration’s Attorney General who ended it," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. "Nevertheless, The Justice Department has taken strong steps to ensure accountability and make sure this does not happen again, including important administrative, policy, and personnel changes. If Republicans still have any legitimate questions about Fast and Furious, this 450-page report answers them. In light of this thorough report and Congress’s 16 month-long investigation, Republicans have no excuse to keep wasting time and taxpayer resources on politically-motivated, election-year attacks."

The botched investigation was designed to track trafficking kingpins responsible for illegal gunrunning to Mexico. It has been blamed for contributing to crimes - including the high-profile slaying of a U.S. border agent - and has become a partisan bone of contention heading into the November elections.

The report is important because of its scope - it is the result of more than a year of research - and for its conclusions, which could stir even more partisan attacks, depending on its outcome. The report is expected to conclude whether the botched plan was mostly the doing of agents in Arizona, or if the Obama administration played a central role.

In the controversy over its handling, conservative Washington legislators voted down party lines to cite the U.S. attorney general - a Democrat - for contempt. It marked the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.

soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. me

    The Inspector General was appointed by the President and then confirmed through a congressional confirmation process – to suggest that this is some insider liberal whatever is essentially assuming that the house and senate are filled with insider liberals. That is clearly not the case as we have a GOP controlled house and a Senate whose numbers are so close they can't even pass anything more complex than a pay raise – if you want to issue with the DOJ Inspector General – check your representatives votes and then use yours to demonstrate your disagreement with their decision to confirm. Until then, use valid logical reasoning to disagree with the findings. Why do peole have to be so petty?

    September 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • person

      Indeed yes. And Fortune Magazine (hardly a liberal mouthpiece) has already exposed Fast & Furious as a minor set of blunders that the right wing attempted to blow into a phony scandal.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      Ah yes, a few hundred dead brown people and a border patrol agent killed on duty is just a few minor blunders. Compassionate liberals strike again.

      As for the appointment of the Inspector General, this confirmation is not done by the house, only the Senate, which, I'm sure you know, is run by Democrats. Educate yourself before spouting off.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike Lake Orion Michigan

    We want Holder's resignation!

    September 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. alan_turing

    Too bad people won't be going to jail. DOJ is out of control.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nate Forrest

    Read the section on the fundamental differences in BATFE's approach to using licensed firearms dealers to facilitate the illegal transfer of thousands of guns. Under the Bush (43) Wide Receiver program, the dealers were paid confidential informants (PCIs), making their relationship and actions legitimate law enforcement functions. Under Obama's Fast and Furious, the dealers were not PCIs, making their actions illegal, so illegal that the dealer's got in trouble with another part of BATFE over what they were doing!

    This debacle proves that our government under Bush (43) and under Obama has gone completely out of control.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. true justice

    The yellow journalists at CNN lied AGAIN. A substantial number of Democrats voted to hold Holder in contempt. In fact When the House Democrats, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, walked out of the House chamber and boycotted the vote the average IQ sky rocketed in the room.  People died when Holder lied.  People died when The Kenyan King lied.  Only 67 democrats supported Holder by voting no to contempt.  Over 2/3 were too busy, says it all.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • lest we forget

      people died when bush lied. lets hold him responsible for his crimes against humanity. lets try him and cheney and rumsfeld for war crimes. bush lied bush lied bush lied and thousands died.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ColdBeerz

      Holder failed his position. Any boss, in any organization, must ask his deputies what projects are underway as soon as they are appointed. Next comes the status of their budget, and a review of policy. This is Organization 101. The boss is responsible for all the actions of his/her organization. Holder should be smart enough to know this, I do not buy his story that he was uninformed, if so, it is due to his ineptness.

      September 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim

    The scape goats are ready.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      It figures – all this administration does is blame others.

      September 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheBigSarge

    yeah, it should be 16. holder and obozo, too. one mis-ran it, the other is the top of the chain of command and needs to be confronted over this.

    i would not say remove him from office over this, but it definately required an impeachment hearing, in my opinion.

    if one of my Soldiers had been so irresponsible, they would have been punished, their supervisor would have been punished, i would have been relieved, my commander would have been relieved, etc.


    September 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CCCC

    To YESLETS, there was a similiar program under the Bush adminstration not the same program. However under Bush, the guns were rendered inoperable, they were tracked by micro gps units and there were traffickers arrested and no one was killed, especially not a US Border Agent.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tony

    I'd like to read the report before I commnet

    September 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan B

    Really – 24 months into your leadership and your are still trying to push blame back.."Today’s report affirms the problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the previous Administration, and it was this Administration’s Attorney General who ended it,"

    Ok – I will accept that.. Obama, you and your team have done NOTHING in 3.5 years. I mean NOTHING!

    September 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Always

    The ONLY one who deserves to be fired is WEINSTEIN... the crooked Jew lawyer. However, there are plenty more to fill his filthy rat shoes.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. lest we forget

    oh gee the poor repubs are victims now!! oh the poor babies. wah wah wah.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tekelder

    If you look at the presented political resolution to this mess as described by this article: it is apparently acceptable for the top of the organization, who is supposed to be in control, to be willfully ignorant of (or deliberately not curious about) an apparently entirely out of control organization. [begin sarcasm]Yep, more and bigger government is clearly the solution to all our problems........Don't ask, don't tell at its finest.[end sarcasm] This isn't a political problem, it is a cultural one.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ColdBeerz

    Funny how Holder claims her did not know about "fast and Furious" but the White House is blaming Bush for "Fast and Furious." Bush has a gun running investigation, "Wide Receiver" but he had the smarts to use radio tracking devices in the guns, "Fast and Furious" did not. Bush's investigation did not result in the murder of two Federal agents either.

    September 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SSGJughead

    no mention of the death of the Border Agent? What about his family?

    September 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
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